The place are they now? Winner of Flanders and Roubaix Peter Van Petegem
Peter Van Petegem successful the 1999 Tour of Flanders in a two-man dash towards Frank Vandenbroucke.
Peter Van Petegem is double winner of the Tour of Flanders, champion of Paris-Roubaix and triple winner of Omloop Het Volk (now Omloop Het Nieuwsblad). Nevertheless, the previous Belgian professional stays modest. “I might by no means stroll right into a room declaring my hitlist and bragging about it,” he tells me. “Neither up to now nor now. It isn’t who I’m.
Van Petegem is a soft-spoken, pleasant man with a love for biking that resonates in each phrase. He nonetheless follows many races on tv, each women and men, and he has discovered a job that retains him in contact with the world of biking. His lengthy profession spanned 16 years on the highest degree. A minimum of 20 victories make up its document. He is likely one of the 10 riders to have received the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix the identical 12 months.
“There are numerous highlights,” he says when requested if 2003, the 12 months he received that double victory, was the perfect 12 months of his profession.
“I’ve had a protracted profession and if only one 12 months or one race was a spotlight it would not be good. The primary Omloop Het Volk was a spotlight. It was the primary nice Basic. This double Flanders / Roubaix in a single week was additionally nice, however numerous my victories are nice for me.
Van Petegem, now 51, received his first Grand Basic at 27. Issues have modified lots since his racing days – a 19-year-old successful the Tour de Belgique and Clasíca San Sebastián, and a 21-year-old successful the Tour de France.
“The transition to the elite class goes lots quicker now,” he says. “Screening additionally begins a lot earlier. Once I was 18 you had been a boy and also you had been advised to develop up first. I would not even consider elevating my hand on the staff assembly or contradicting the older riders. We skilled with the staff as younger guys and acquired some recommendation from the older riders. There was a hierarchy. Once I began with PDM, it was Sean Kelly who gave me race recommendation.
“You see it in all places although. In soccer, they play with the primary staff aged 16 or 17. Children are rising up quicker lately. It is extra of a fancy puzzle. They now have managers, sponsors, trainers, they’ve their energy meter recordsdata to point out off and everybody has a say. Everybody desires a fast outcome and the strain is growing increasingly more.
“[But] the bike remains to be the bike. It hasn’t modified. These early season races in France had been preparation races earlier than the beginning of the massive races. Now everyone seems to be operating the road day by day. They offer 200% for his or her profession. It is nice for us as spectators as a result of we have seen some incredible races in 2020 and 2021 thus far, however there’s numerous strain on these drivers now. Typically I feel they need to be much less severe, particularly youthful riders.
Van Petegem began at PDM on the age of 21 and competed in his final race in 2007 with QuickStep on the age of 37. He thinks a bit when requested if there may be something he regrets about his profession.
“No, probably not,” he mentioned. “I handle the frustration effectively. I had two probabilities to develop into world champion: in Valkenburg 1998 and in Hamilton in 2003 and I completed second and third. In fact, I might have liked to commerce that silver and bronze medal for a rainbow jersey. However regrets? No.
“Effectively possibly one factor. I stayed true to [team manager] Cees Priem and stayed with him when TVM ended his sponsorship and the staff grew to become Farm Frites. At present a supervisor would have advised me to not keep and transfer on, however I used to be loyal to Cees.
After a interval of insecurity and turmoil across the groups for which Van Petegem rode, he joined Lotto-Adecco in 2002. He received his third Omloop Het Volk and Driedaagse De Panne. He additionally had the highest 10 locations in different main races and a 3rd place within the Tour of Flanders that 12 months.
“However in case you’ve already received Flanders as soon as, a podium place turns into much less spectacular,” he says. “There was additionally numerous strain on me to repeat this efficiency. It occurred the next 12 months and it felt good; an actual affirmation. The happiness was in actual fact the identical as that of the primary Tour of Flanders.
It was additionally a outstanding race which noticed two of the most important Belgian stars meet. Van Petegem beat Frank Vandenbroucke in a two-man dash in 2003 to develop into the two-time Flanders champion, which solely 11 riders managed. Every week later, he beat Dario Pieri and Vjatsjeslav Ekimov on the Roubaix velodrome in a three-man dash to develop into the eighth rider to double the identical 12 months. Since then, Tom Boonen (2012) and Fabian Cancellara (2013) have joined the membership.
“Successful the Tour of Flanders in Belgium is eternally,” says Van Petegem. “It adjustments one thing with the followers. There are runners who’ve had a protracted profession like me however who’re not acknowledged. The humorous factor is, individuals are taking a look at me now greater than they did 20 years in the past. Edward Theuns was right here the opposite day and he checked out me as I watched him, ”he laughed. “I am not the kind to brag about my profession. Within the province of East Flanders, we’re modest folks.
Van Petegem by no means managed one other win after 2003. There have been nonetheless prime 10 locations in Flanders and Roubaix however the lack of an enormous win drew criticism. The discussions started: had Van Petegem ridden a 12 months too lengthy? He is clear about it.
“It is by no means a day or a 12 months too lengthy once you nonetheless wish to stand up within the morning to coach,” he says. “I used to be paid to be champion however I did not win anymore. I did not get a brand new contract after 2006 as a result of I had numerous accidents however I did not wish to finish my profession like that. Patrick Lefevere gave me a spot in his staff to finish my profession alone phrases. He did the identical with Mark Cavendish and I can perceive. Final 12 months some sturdy riders didn’t have the possibility to complete as they needed and I’m sorry for them.
Van Petegem has by no means discovered himself behind the wheel of a staff automobile as a sporting director, like many former Belgian execs. He would not remorse it although. He has a laissez-faire philosophy of life and accepts that issues are as they’re.
“In fact, I might have preferred to be a sports activities director proper after my profession,” he says. “You solely have a number of months to resolve what to do subsequent. In my case the era earlier than me with guys like Hendrik Redant, Wilfried Peeters, Marc Sergeant and Herman Frison had simply began as sports activities administrators and there aren’t many locations on the prime degree anyway. So I selected a special profession.
As an alternative, he ended up promoting insurance coverage.
“I’ve all the time been the form of runner to speak to everybody, the runners, the sponsors,” he says. “We now name it networking. I knew and knew lots of people and I like the interplay. After your biking profession, it’s a must to transfer ahead with a profession. I simply discovered myself in insurance coverage.
The hyperlinks with biking are nonetheless there as a result of it has designed a selected coverage for skilled riders and groups. He offered the enterprise and now works with skilled groups as an insurance coverage liaison. Van Petegem can be within the lead automobile of the Tour of Flanders with race director Wim Van Herreweghe and has his personal cyclosportif.
“Sadly, we won’t try this this spring due to COVID restrictions,” he says. “Within the vehicles through the races we will now solely have two folks per automobile, however we hope once more subsequent 12 months [things will return to normal]. ”
Van Petegem additionally hopes to guide a staff with improvement pilots and professionals within the close to future. He’s working with the previous Willems supervisor of Group Veranda, Ivan De Schamphelaere, to draw sponsors and get the venture began.
“Ivan and I’ve been engaged on it for some time now, however it’s not the best instances,” he says. “As well as, biking groups and their relationship with sponsors have modified. You want much more than simply giving the boss a trip within the staff automobile. There’s additionally much more specialization in groups. Prior to now, the director did every part, however now there are competent folks for all departments. Managers should delegate. I feel I see myself extra as a monetary boss than a sports activities director, ”he says with a smile.
Peter Van Petegem can be a father. He has two sons: Axandre and Maurits. Each trip bikes, though the youthful, Maurits, began out in soccer earlier than following his brother and, maybe, the biking genes. Axandre has had a troublesome 2020 season as a second-year junior in COVID time.
“It has been a crappy 12 months for the younger drivers and I hope they’ll trip extra quickly,” mentioned Van Petegem. “That is what all runners want: to trip and run. It’s my dream in life, that these boys have a terrific profession, that they’ve enjoyable biking but in addition obtain their targets, that they’re and shall be comfortable and wholesome. It is a very powerful factor in my life proper now.